An alternative look at Vasquez's shooting woes
With three and a half minutes remaining in the first half Monday night, Greivis Vasquez drove into the lane and drew the attention of several Chaminade defenders. Without hesitation, Vasquez fired a pass to Eric Hayes, who scored and was fouled by a late-arriving Chaminade forward Matt Cousins. Hayes sank the ensuing free throw to give Maryland an eight-point lead.
Vasquez -- a preseason all-ACC first team selection who led the Terrapins in scoring last season -- continued to struggle with his shot in the first round of the Maui Invitational. He made 2 of 7 attempts and tallied six points. He is shooting 30 percent (12 for 40) from the field and averaging 7.5 points in four games this season.
While Vasquez has been visibly frustrated with his off-kilter shot, his value to Maryland's offense has decreased only marginally. Part of that has to do with the level of competition the Terrapins have faced so far. But part of that also has to do with Vasquez's diverse offensive talents and the threat his presence poses to opposing defenses.
Against Chaminade, Vasquez tallied five assists. He is averaging a team-leading 6.5 assists per game thus far. Beyond that, Vasquez nearly always draws a crowd of defenders when he has the ball in his hands, which creates open looks for teammates. So not only is he finding teammates, he's helping them get into better scoring position simply by being engaged in the offensive flow.
This is not to say that Vasquez's shooting woes won't eventually catch up to the Terrapins. He is their most dynamic threat, but only if he is scoring 12-18 points per game. But if Vasquez can continue to find other ways to play a role in Maryland's offensive proficiency, he'll at least be able to contribute until his scoring touch resurfaces.
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